- Dear Nafisa, please share your feelings about playing for the first time in Grand Prix in the capital of your home country.
- This is a first time for me to have so much attention. I felt myself under pressure even before the start of the tournament. Every day the journalists were calling me asking for the interviews, and I had to switch off the mobile in order to concentrate on preparation.Just a couple of days before the Opening ceremony I was ready to give them some of time.
The first rounds were very tough for me, as I know that my compatriots are expecting good results from me.
On the other hand I feel that everybody is supporting me, and it is a great pleasure for me to play in such a tremendous event together with the strongest female players of the world.
- It is not a secret, that you came to chess quite late – at the age of 9. Can you please tell how it happened?
- Before that I only knew how to move the pieces and was having the piano class in Kokand city. One day my father took me to the chess club, and it turned up a choice: to continue piano or to start playing chess. My younger sister Hulkar also liked to play chess so we decided to study together. Our father thought chess is good for the overall development.
And now we are both in the national team.
- And you have one more sister?
- Yes, the youngest, Gulrukhbegim, is 14 years old. And she is also a chess player. I think she is the most talented in my family. This year she became a Woman FIDE Master. In 2011 she took third in World Youth U-12 Championship in Brazil.
- And when has your chess carrier began?
- I was always taking the last place in the tournaments organized in my club. But I liked chess so much that I kept playing. I always wanted to achieve high level in chess, and I felt that it is possible, but the results were not coming for long.
Since my first Republic tournament in 1999 I wasn’t happy about the outcome till I qualified for the World Championship in 2007 from the Zonal tournament. After that I started to prepare more and won the Silver Medal in 2008 U-18 Asian Championship just before the World Championship. I immediately was invited to the National Olympic team, and in Dresden represented Uzbekistan on the first board.
- How is it to be a leader of the team in such a huge event?
- We were all participating in the Chess Olympiad for the first time ever, and in the first round we faced Romania. I was playing against WGM Cosma, Elena-Luminiţa. Having a three-times repetition, I incorrectly applied for a draw. She declined a draw, and I won that game while all the other girls lost. Then I told them: “You see, I won on the first board, so you also can!” And the girls believed in themselves: our team showed very good result by sharing 13th to 22nd. And this is still the best result of the female team of Uzbekistan.
It is very important how you prepare yourself emotionally. For example I lost to Antoaneta Stefanova in Dresden Olympiad, and when two years later in Khanty-Mansiysk in the pairings I saw that we are playing with Bulgaria, I was very happy: I have to revenge! And I won with black pieces!
- So you are playing with Antoaneta on every Olympiad?
- Yes, and now the score is 1.5-1.5. I believe we both want to change it in our favor (smiling)
- What is your goal in chess?
- I want to show everything I am able to. I know that I have a great potential, and my coaches also believe in this. And my dream of course is to reach the highest title. I know everyone says this but I know it is possible.
- You said you have coaches. Can you tell more about them?
- Yes, one of the coaches is my father Alisher Muminov: he helps me a lot in analyzing as well as psychological preparation for the games. And also I work with the coach of our female team Vladimir Nikolaevich Egin.
- What are your next tournaments in the calendar?
- I will play in the Cup of Central Asia in Dushanbe (Tajikistan), maybe will take part in some Opens in India or participate in Student Games in the autumn.
- So you are a student? Where do you study and is it difficult to combine chess and education?
- I am studying psychology in Uzbekistan State Institute of Physical Culture. They support me and my teachers understand that I can’t be always present in the class.
- Did you follow the match of Anna Ushenina and Hou Yifan?
- Yes, of course! I didn’t doubt that Hou Yifan will confidently win back the title. She is one of my favourite players. We played many games in the Asian Games already and I couldn’t get even a half-point, but surely I will work on it!